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First World War £2 coin ‘glorifying the conflict’
A CHRISTIAN group has asked people to donate a new £2 coin, which it says glorifies war, to charity.
Alongside other Christian charities, the Oxford-based Fellowship of Reconciliation has criticised the coin’s design, featuring the famous Lord Herbert Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster from the First World War.
The group, based in Paradise Street, is calling for the Royal Mint to make an alternate peace coin and for people with the new one to give it straight to charity.
Fellowship director Millius Palayiwa, 63, said: “We feel this design is in danger of glorifying war, when there were other voices opposed to the war at the time.
“We want to make sure that those other views are heard in the commemoration.
“Because of Iraq and Afghanistan people are asking if there are better ways than war to resolve our conflicts. We want Royal Mint to do a peace coin as well.
“We are calling on people to donate the new coins to organisations working to build a just and peaceful world for everyone.”
Last month the Royal Mint unveiled a selection of coins, including the Lord Herbert Kitchener one, above, to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War. They will go into circulation later this year.
But a number of Christian charities have started a petition against it which has so far received 4,700 signatures.
It urges Royal Mint to replace the coin with one that “truly commemorates” the millions of people who died in the war.
Chairman of the Oxfordshire Royal British Legion and a former World War Two gunner Jim Lewendon, 85, said: “I have mixed feelings about it. I myself like to leave it in the past, but I can’t see anything wrong with a coin.
“Lord Kitchener has been used in all sorts of things and you can’t help that. A lot of people collect coins.”
Royal Mint spokeswoman Victoria Newman defended the design.
She said: “The £2 coin has gone through a rigorous design selection process, governed by an independent panel.
“The design was selected because the poster has come to be strongly associated with the outbreak of the war and is recognised by much of the population.
“In the next four years we will announce more coins, finishing with a poignant reflection on the armistice and the ongoing legacy of the war.”